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As plans are drawn up to regulate the cosmetic treatments industry what are the key considerations you need to be aware of to stay safe?

The lack of regulation around non-surgical cosmetic treatments in the UK has long been a topical issue, with many calling for more regulation and increased protection for consumers.

At present there are no set training requirements for beauty therapists or non-medical professionals who perform treatments such as Botox - an estimated 900,000 such procedures are performed a year - and filler. Campaign group, Save Face received 2,824 complaints last year regarding unregistered practitioners, and this is a figure that is continually increasing.

Through my work I see first-hand the long-lasting impact that these procedures can have on individuals when they go wrong. Clients not only want answers about why cosmetic procedures may have gone but they often also need help accessing corrective surgeries and therapies that they require because of their injuries.

The proposed new licensing scheme 

The Department for Health and Social Care has announced its intention to introduce a licensing regime for non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

The proposed scheme is set to provide a three-tier classification system for non-surgical treatments ranging from those treatments with the lowest risk of complications to those with a higher risk. 

It's set to include requirements around practitioners training and qualifications. It may also provide more security for consumers in terms of practitioners' indemnity insurance cover and regulations of the premises they are performed at.

The proposals are set to be firmed up following a public consultation which is now running until 28 October.

How can you protect yourself in the meantime?

Individuals should always carry out their own research before considering going ahead with any cosmetic treatment.

It's important to consider and check the following:

  • Whether the practitioner is qualified and what training they have received;
  • Whether the practitioner has insurance cover;
  • Whether the practitioner uses a licensed safety-tested product;
  • What are the risks and side effects of the procedure and how is the practitioner equipped to deal with this?

Reform a step in the right direction 

The introduction of a licensing scheme is a welcomed step in the right direction for those who've been calling for more regulation.

Concerns have been raised about the challenge of enforcing the new regulations, and the period of public consultation - which runs until 28 October, will no doubt bring to light further concerns about the scheme. 

However, it's hoped that the scheme will ultimately represent a move towards regulation in the British aesthetics industry putting patient safety at the forefront of treatment.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people following cosmetic procedures at our dedicated cosmetic surgery claims section.

The government could ban unlicensed providers of cosmetic treatments in England, in what industry bodies say would be the biggest shake-up in a generation.

Under the plans, anyone carrying out Botox, breast or butt lift injections would have to be trained and licensed, with their premises also inspected.”